Rutgers University has awarded a full scholarship to an undocumented immigrant, allowing him to finish his last two years of college and receive his bachelor's degree, Fox News Latino reports.
Rutgers University-Newark has granted Giancarlo Tello, a 24-year-old political science major who came from Peru with his parents when he was just 6, a two-year scholarship that amounts to about $22,000.
University officials say they heard Tello speak at a community event in Newark, New Jersey and were amazed by his intelligence and leadership abilities. Since Tello is undocumented, and therefore ineligible for public financial aid programs, officials decided they would offer him a scholarship to help him cover the cost of his last two years.
The scholarship marks a watershed moment for Tello, who has a waiver allowing him to remain in the country temporarily; his parents now have legal status and his younger sister, who was born here, is a citizen.
The move by Rutgers also signals another foothold in the state for students who are in the country illegally, and puts the state university on one side of a contentious issue that has divided the country.
While those students often are eligible for private scholarships, Rutgers would be one of the first public schools in the country to specifically designate the awards for the group. In 2012, the University of California, Berkeley, got a private grant of more than $1 million to provide scholarships to students in the country illegally, but few other similar programs exist.
The case is triggering mixed reactions.
Rutgers University just gave Peru illegal, Giancarlo Tello, $22K scholarship. Tello is an illegal rights activist in NJ. @RedNationRising- Mary (@trappedinca) August 7, 2014
@starledger speaks glowingly of Giancarlo Tello, an "unauthorized" immigrant who led the "fight" for in-state tuition for illegals.- Gene Killian (@genethelawyer) August 4, 2014